In November, The MVP Blog is featuring members of our community who have experienced challenging times during COVID and how they managed to overcome and find the silver lining.
Melbourne, Australia, holds the unenviable title of the city with the world’s longest pandemic lockdown.
The nation’s second-largest city endured 262 days, nearly nine months, of stay-at-home restrictions that went over six lockdowns since March 2020. Now, as the city begins to return to some semblance of normality, Melbourne-based MVPs share what they have experienced and what they have learned during the period.
Business Apps MVP Natraj Yegnaraman says the lockdown made him appreciate the small things that he used to take for granted, like eating out on a Friday or going for a long drive.
The lockdown reminded him of a Tamil saying, which translates to “one will appreciate shade only when under the hot sun.” With this in mind, Natraj advises: “Don't stress over things that are not in your control, because nothing lasts forever, whether it is good or bad. Live today because there will always be tomorrow.”
AI MVP Akanksha Malik describes the lockdown as anxiety-ridden, and something that wasn’t always improved by staying in the loop with news notifications. “I like knowing things. I always thought of myself as someone who would be fine if they knew what they could about a situation and manage it accordingly. I learnt that it was actually much better for my mental health to not keep up with daily numbers and leave the situation be - it is what it is, after all.”
“Letting that part go and being okay with the unknown was absolutely great,” Akanksha says.
Like many others, Developer Technologies MVP Glenn Watson found diet particularly difficult.
“One of the biggest problems during lockdown included the ease of getting food delivered without the ability to go and get it yourself. I gained 10kg at one point during the first lockdown and have slowly been losing it.”
Meanwhile, Azure MVP Tao Yang says that his father in law came to visit in November 2019. Thanks to the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, he ended up staying for 20 months.
“At the same time, it has been tough to manage all of my daughter’s remote learning. Her school, her ballet class, piano class, Chinese class, they all went online. She even attended two British Ballet Company exams remotely. Having our house set up in a way to accommodate all her remote classes was very challenging (and expensive).”
Nonetheless, the experience served as a timely reminder: “family first, everything else comes in second. We have to keep ourselves physically and mentally fit,” Tao says.
Azure MVP Eran Stiller had just moved with his family from Israel to Australia as the latest lockdown came into effect.
“When we arrived, we spent two weeks in hotel quarantine, and once we got out, we had only a few days of freedom to enjoy until the last lockdown started,” Eran says.
“During this experience, I learned that no matter how hard the situation can become, we can adapt and find solutions to whatever life throws at us. Are the shops closed? Order online! Are house inspections impossible? Inspect houses virtually! School's closed? Find online learning games and make the most of the time you have. It's not ideal, of course, but it got us through.”
“One piece of advice I would give to myself, looking back, is to take things easy. Relax. Don't stress. Don't worry about what could have been. Times are hard as it is, don't make it harder on yourself. Prioritize and focus on what's important - your life, your wellbeing and your family. All the rest will follow.”